Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. What’s a kite? Sure, it’s one of those kids’ toys that can be made out of paper and sticks and held on a string to catch the wind and climb high, but kites have also inspired poets and scientists like Benjamin Franklin. They’re more than kids’ toys, but fun for all. Kites seem to have had their origin in China more than 3,000 years ago, but long before those Chinese kites, there were other kites that are still with us today: birds we call ‘kites’. Toy kites take their name from the old English word for these birds. Like their toy counterpart, a feathered kite can hang motionless, suspended in the air, then dive and twist and turn without ever flapping its wings. These kites are hawks that feed on insects such as dragonflies and on small lizards and snakes that they deftly pluck from the ground or vegetation as they sail by. Among the most aerially adept and graceful of kites, Florida’s swallow-tailed kite even drinks and bathes on the wing as it swoops and glides, performing tricks on the wing in the course of its daily activities that flyers of those other kites can only dream of.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.